December 16, 2010 | by Staff reports
National news in brief

California state Sen. Mark Leno, who's gay, thinks LGBT history should be taught in public schools. (Photo courtesy of Mark Leno)

Gay history lessons in state schools debated

SAN FRANCISCO — While the courts continue to debate the legality of same-sex marriage, the battle over gay civil rights is moving into another arena in California: the classroom.

State Sen. Mark Leno, a San Francisco Democrat, introduced legislation this week that would amend the state education code, mandating that LGBT history be included in the curriculum of public schools, the San Francisco Examiner reported. The bill — dubbed the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful Education Act — calls for accurate and fair portrayal of LGBT historical figures who have contributed to shaping social and political issues across the nation.

Leno said a shift in education policy would have a ripple effect by curbing widespread bullying of gay teens, the Examiner reported. Most textbooks do not include any historical information about the LGBT movement, Leno said. The proposal has already started to incite opposition from groups who say this is another attempt by liberal educators to drive a pro-gay agenda into the classroom.

Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative legal defense group that supported Proposition 8, the state’s same-sex marriage ban, told the Examiner someone’s sexual orientation is not relevant to their contributions in history.

“This bill is no doubt an attempt to convert history into an opportunity for teachers and liberal educators to promote acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle,” Dacus said. “I think the majority of Californians think that’s not optimal usage of educational time.”

Gay rights activist Adele Starr dies at 90

LOS ANGELES — Adele Starr, a Brentwood, Calif., mother of five who overcame dismay at her son’s homosexuality to become a leading voice for gay rights and marriage equality, has died, according to the Los Angeles Times. She was 90. Starr died in her sleep Dec. 10 at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, where she had been convalescing after surgery, her son Philip Starr, told the Times.

Starr met PFLAG (Parents & Friends of Lesbians & Gays) founders Jules and Jeanne Manford in 1974 when her son came out, and within a year hosted Los Angeles’s first chapter meeting with 35 parents in attendance in her home. Eventually she hosted gatherings of other chapter leaders, which led to the creation of a national group. Starr was then elected as the first president of the national PFLAG organization.

Lambert Tweets support for gay group FCKH8

CLEVELAND — “American Idol” season eight runner up Adam Lambert, who’s gay, Tweeted support this week for FCKH8, a controversial gay rights group, On Top Magazine, a gay online news agency, reported.

“@FCKH8 hell yeah,” he messaged his nearly 800,000 followers with a link to the group’s latest video, FCK BULLIES by FCKH8.com: DON’T B H8N ON THE HOMOS!

FCKH8′s frequent — some would say excessive — use of the word fuck has divided gay rights advocates. Critics say such tactics provoke social conservative groups opposed to gay rights and can be offensive.

First out gay Colo. Supreme Court Justice sworn in

DENVER — A Latina lesbian has become both the first Latino and first openly gay judge on the Colorado state Supreme Court, according to AP reports.

But she was quick to tell her colleagues that her allegiance is to the law, not any special interest group when she was sworn in Dec. 10.

“On the bench, of course, my allegiance is to the law, not to any particular constituency,” she said after she was sworn in by her father, retired Judge Jose D.L. Marquez, who was the first Latino appointed to the Colorado Court of Appeals.

Marquez, 41, is a Grand Junction native who attended Stanford and Yale universities.

Heather Draper, spokeswoman for the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Community Center, said Colorado lawmakers have passed five laws in recent years improving gay rights, including laws that allow same-sex couples to designate beneficiaries, adopt children and bar discrimination in housing, but none of those issues are involved in pending litigation.

1 Comment
  • Per Gay History lessons:

    The opposition is just another ignorant attempt to say “Let’s just pretend that gays do not exist”.

    Intelligent people will prevail, and The Bigots Themselves will go down in the History Books, just like the KKK did. Wait and see.

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